Dr Kate Miltner
BA (Columbia), MSc (LSE), MA (USC Annenberg), PhD (USC Annenberg)
Lecturer in Data, AI & Society
Full contact details
Regent Court (IS)
I joined the Information School as a Lecturer in Data, AI, and Society in 2022. Prior to that, I was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Edinburgh. I received my PhD in Communication in 2019 from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. Before becoming an academic, I worked in the creative and tech industries across the US and UK; some of the places I have worked include Microsoft, Twitter, Saatchi & Saatchi, and The Engine Group.
My research explores issues of power and inequality in digital systems, institutions, and cultures. It examines how, and in what forms ,power circulates through digital ecosystems, how structural inequalities are (re)produced within and across digital contexts, and how power and inequality shape what happens—and for whom—in digital spaces.
My work has appeared in the peer-reviewed journals New Media & Society, Science, Technology and Human Values, Social Media + Society, International Journal of Communication, First Monday, Feminist Media Studies, and Mobile Media and Communication. My research and expertise have been featured in global media including Wired, Slate, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Financial Times, Al Jazeera, and the BBC. I have also received Best Paper awards from the International Communication Association and National Communication Association.
- Deputy Ethics Coordinator
- Research interests
My current research focuses on the discourse and business of “learning to code” and interrogates the widespread claim that digital skills offer a gateway to equity for under-represented groups in an increasingly digital economy. My EU-funded project Who’s Coding is the first major study of coding & skills bootcamps in the United Kingdom and investigates the relationship between their values, norms, and practices and the (re)production of inequalities.
In addition to my work on digital skills, industry, and economy, I have been researching digital cultures for over a decade. My work in this area has a particular focus on the politics of inclusion and exclusion within digital cultures, especially concerning issues of gender and race. My published work in this area has covered topics including internet memes, influencer communities, networked misogyny, and social media nostalgia.
My research also explores the politics of how digital platforms & formats are developed and used. In this work, I explore how seemingly ‘trivial’ digital objects reflect significant power dynamics. I have researched the cultural significance of selfies and the animated GIF file format, as well as racialized representation in emoji. My current work on platformed solidarity (with Dr Tim Highfield) explores how digital platforms and brands participate in “woke capitalism” by changing their affordances in response to current events.
I am interested in supervising PhDs on topics that take a critical approach to sociotechnical issues and topics, including (but not limited to):
- Politics of Digital Technologies
- Inequality and the digital
- Digital identities and online communities
- Technical industries and cultures
- Sociotechnical practices and assemblages
I am primarily a qualitative researcher and am experienced in a variety of methods, including ethnography, interviews, discourse analysis, visual methods, digital archival methods, the walkthrough method, platform biographies, and other critical digital methods.
- Everything old is new again: a comparison of midcentury American EDP schools and contemporary coding bootcamps. Information & Culture, 57(3), 255-282.
- Policing “fake” femininity: authenticity, accountability, and influencer antifandom. New Media & Society, 24(7), 1657-1676. View this article in WRRO
- “Tom had us all doing front-end web development”: a nostalgic (re)imagining of Myspace. Internet Histories, 6(1-2), 48-67. View this article in WRRO
- “Chinese Elm 1030595 . . . (or can I call you Dale??)”: Communication and representation in mediated encounters with nonhuman others. New Media and Society, 24(10), 2291-2310.
- “One part politics, one part technology, one part history”: Racial representation in the Unicode 7.0 emoji set. New Media and Society, 23(3), 515-534.
- Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing.. SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY & HUMAN VALUES, 44(1), 161-176.
- Girls who coded: gender in twentieth century U.K. and U.S. computing. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 44(1), 161-176.
- Never Gonna GIF You Up: Analyzing the Cultural Significance of the Animated GIF. Social Media + Society, 3(3), 205630511772522-205630511772522.
- #MasculinitySoFragile: culture, structure, and networked misogyny. Feminist Media Studies, 16(1), 171-174.
- Histories of Hating. Social Media + Society, 1(2), 205630511560399-205630511560399.
- The selfie of the year of the selfie: Reflections on a media scandal. International Journal of Communication, 9(1), 1701-1715.
- Put down that phone and talk to me: Understanding the roles of mobile phone norm adherence and similarity in relationships. Mobile Media & Communication, 2(2), 134-153.
- Critiquing big data: Politics, ethics, epistemology. International Journal of Communication, 8(1), 1663-1672.
- "There's no place for lulz on LOLCats": The role of genre, gender, and group identity in the interpretation and enjoyment of an Internet meme. First Monday, 19(8).
- “There’s no place for lulz on LOLCats”: The role of genre, gender, and group identity in the interpretation and enjoyment of an Internet meme. First Monday.
- Rupaul’s drag race keyboard: Affect and resistance through visual communication, Appified: Culture in the Age of Apps (pp. 289-298).
- Internet Memes, The SAGE Handbook of Social Media (pp. 412-428). SAGE Publications Ltd
- Professional activities
- Member, Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR)
- Member, International Communication Association Media Industry Studies Interest Group;
- Member, UKRI Early Career Researchers Forum